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This old quote: “You can’t understand someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes” has been pretty dragged out. In conventions and symposiums, speakers love to use that quote to emphasize how you should know and understand the different areas of your business.

The original author is lost to history. From a personal perspective, it is completely true. We are all unique, and no one person can truly understand another from the inside; we can only empathize.

In our businesses, we can never know all there is to know about our customers, suppliers, and partners. All we can do is try to understand them.

It is important that we do this because good customer service and good customer retention are born from it; the more we understand the elements that bring life to our company, the better we can help it grow.

It may feel frustrating at times to continually put yourself in the shoes of each of the different people in your process, and you may feel like it’s a waste of your time. But on your side, you know how you deal with your suppliers, with your customers, partners, and vendors, and you know how they deal with you. You can take all that information and analyze it, or you can walk in their shoes and work out what you can change to give them a better interaction with your business.

It isn’t wasted time, it’s all about understanding your business, market, and customers, and all it costs you is a little empathy.